Harimau Malaya's Syamer back in race for Asian Cup spot after injuries

KUALA LUMPUR: Syamer Kutty Abba is eager to prove himself to national coach Kim Pan Gon as he hopes to make the 23-member squad for the Asian Cup in Qatar from Jan 12-Feb 10.

The 26-year-old and 25 other trainees will report for centralised training at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya on Dec 26.

For the record, Syamer was a key player for Harimau Malaya before an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury on his right knee last year saw him sidelined for eight months.

However, the Penang-born suffered another setback upon returning to action in March.

He tore his right knee meniscus, which saw him making only two starts and 11

appearances from the bench for his club, Johor Darul Ta'zim.

Syamer conceded that he has plenty of catching up to do to make the final 23-player squad for the Asian Cup.

He added that he is grateful for the opportunity to play in the Asian Cup after being the key figure in the early stages of the qualifying round before his injuries.

"I played in the early part of the qualifiers, but I missed the next round due to my injuries. So being in the training squad for the Asian Games is a huge honour," said Syamer today.

"I will push myself in training to impress Pan Gon, as it is my dream to be part of the Asian Cup.

"I must thank JDT for providing the best treatment for my injuries. I am fit now, but I have missed regular competitive action,"

Syamer must certainly push hard in training, as Pan Gon has called up many midfielders for the training camp.

Among them are Stuart Wilkin, Brendan Gan, and his JDT teammates Afiq Fazail, Endrick Dos Santos and Natxo Insa.

Malaysia will play friendly matches against Lebanon on Jan 4, Palestine on Jan 9 and Hong Kong on Jan 10 before kicking off their Asian Cup Group E campaign.

World No. 130 Malaysia will open their campaign against No. 87 Jordan on Jan 15, followed by matches against No. 86 Bahrain five days later and No. 23 South Korea on Jan 25.

"Harimau Malaya have better quality this time, and the competition for spots in the Asian Cup team will be stiff. Everyone wants to represent Malaysia and play against the best teams in the Asian region," Syamer added.

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